When renovating your kitchen or bathroom, choosing the right countertop material is an important decision. Granite and quartz are two of the most popular options for countertops today. Many homeowners find themselves debating between quartz vs granite when it comes to cost. Which material costs more – quartz or granite?
An Overview of Granite Countertops
Granite is a natural stone that is mined from quarries around the world. It is an igneous rock that forms when magma cools slowly beneath the earth’s surface. Granite is made up of several minerals including quartz, feldspar, and mica which give it its unique color patterns and veining.
Here are some key factors to consider about granite countertops:
- Durability – Granite is incredibly hard and scratch resistant. It can last for decades with proper care and maintenance.
- Heat Resistance – Granite can withstand heat up to 2100 degrees Fahrenheit, making it ideal for kitchens.
- Stains – Granite is porous so sealing is required to prevent stains. Resealing is needed every 1-2 years.
- Maintenance – Granite requires periodic sealing to prevent stains. Gentle cleaning with soap and water is best.
- Cost – Natural granite slabs range from $40-$100 per square foot installed. More exotic varieties can cost over $100 per square foot.
- Colors/patterns – Granite comes in a vast array of natural colors and patterns. No two slabs are exactly alike.
Granite’s natural beauty, durability, and style make it a top choice for luxury kitchen and bathroom countertops. However, the high cost and periodic sealing required may make some homeowners consider alternatives like quartz.
An Overview of Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops, often referred to as engineered stone, are made from 93% ground quartz crystals combined with polyresin binders. The material is man-made under factory conditions to create a durable, low-maintenance countertop.
Here are some key factors about quartz countertops:
- Non-porous – Quartz is non-porous and does not require sealing or conditioning.
- Stain Resistant – Quartz resists stains, scratches, heat, and moisture.
- Easy Maintenance – Simple cleaning with soap and water is all that is required.
- Durability – Quartz is very durable and does not easily chip, crack, or scratch.
- Colors and Patterns – Quartz comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns giving the look of natural stone.
- Cost – Price ranges from $50-$100 per square foot installed.
With quartz, you get the look of high-end stone with excellent durability and less maintenance. The man-made nature gives more consistent coloring and freedom from natural flaws. But does this make quartz cheaper than natural granite?
Cost Comparison: Granite vs Quartz Countertops
So when it comes to your kitchen or bath remodel, which material costs more – quartz or granite? Here is a breakdown of factors affecting the costs:
The material cost for natural granite slabs ranges from $40-$100 per square foot. Exotic granites can go as high as $300 per square foot.
Quartz slabs range from $50-$100 per square foot. The manufactured nature makes pricing more consistent.
While exotic granites may exceed the cost of quartz, for most standard granite varieties, quartz material is similar or lower cost.
Typical installation charges range from $35-$75 per square foot for either granite or quartz countertops. The installation process is similar for both.
Some factors that may influence installation costs include:
- Complexity of the project
- Tile backsplashes vs full slabs
- Edge profiles – basic, beveled, ogee, etc.
- Island shapes – curved, angled, or straight
But overall, assuming a straightforward layout, installation prices should be very comparable for granite and quartz.
Installation costs do not give an advantage to either granite or quartz.
When you add up material and installation costs, here are typical overall price ranges:
- Granite – Total cost of $75 to $175 per square foot
- Quartz – Total cost of $85 to $175 per square foot
While material costs may be a bit lower for quartz, some premium varieties exceed the price of mid-range granites. Overall, pricing is quite similar, coming down to personal preference for stone vs engineered stone.
The total installed price per square foot for granite and quartz is comparable. The cost differential is negligible in most cases.
What Impacts the Costs of Granite and Quartz?
Beyond just comparing base prices per square foot, many factors can create variability in the costs of both granite and quartz countertops. Here are some of the considerations:
Stone Type – Basic granites start at $40 per SF while exotic varieties can exceed $100 per SF. With over 3000 granite types, prices span a wide range.
Color Variations – Slabs with more veining, patterns, and movement of color can increase cost.
Rareness – Rare or discontinued granite colors often demand a premium.
Thickness – Thicker 3cm slabs are preferred for durability but cost more than 2cm.
Edge Profiles – Elaborate edges like ogee, dupont, chamfer, etc. add cost over simple polished or rounded.
Cutouts – More cutouts for sinks and cooktops increase fabrication time and costs.
Finish – Honed, leathered, or brushed finishes cost slightly more than gloss polishes.
Backsplashes – Full slabs are simpler while tile adds labor costs.
Origins – Imported exotics from Brazil, Italy, or Africa can mean higher costs.
Brand – Premium designers like Caesarstone or Silestone cost more than low-end brands.
Patterns – Unique designs and heavily patterned slabs can increase costs.
Thicknesses – Thicker 3cm pieces have an upcharge over standard 2cm.
Edge Details – Intricate edges come at a premium cost.
Cutouts – More cutouts mean more fabrication time and higher cost.
Backsplashes – Full slabs are simplest while tiles add steps.
Finishes – Matte and textured finishes trend higher over gloss.
So while a basic quartz may start lower than basic granite, upgraded materials and fabrication can make granite and quartz prices overlap across the mid to high end. Much depends on your specific design.
Factors That Do Not Impact Cost
Some homeowners assume that granite and quartz costs depend on certain factors that in reality do not actually impact the price:
Location – Being an interior finish product, costs are consistent nationally. Regional labor rates do not apply.
Size of Project – Unlike cabinetry or flooring, you do not save on bulk quantity with countertops. Pricing is per square foot.
Color Selection – Outside of exotic granites, color does not substantially impact quartz or granite pricing.
Trends – Both quartz and granite remain highly desired. Trends between the two materials do not significantly impact costs year to year.
Kitchen vs Bath – Prices remain consistent whether it is for a kitchen or bathroom application.
Onsite vs Fabrication Shop – Fabrication done offsite vs locally yield similar costs.
The cost differences boil down to the factors unique to each job like materials, edges, and backsplashes as discussed above.
Pros and Cons: Granite vs Quartz Costs
To summarize the cost differences between granite and quartz:
- Huge selection of natural patterns and colors
- Can find very low cost granite options
- Can negotiate slabs at stone yards
- Risk of cost overruns with exotic stones
- Higher maintenance costs with periodic sealing
- Most cost in the $80-$120 per SF range
- Low maintenance with no sealing required
- Limited to color/pattern options manufactured
- Less opportunity to negotiate pricing
So while pricing is largely a draw between the two, there are worthwhile tradeoffs to consider depending on your goals for the project.
Does Cost Matter? How To Choose Between Quartz vs Granite
With granite vs quartz countertops so close in price, it often comes down to other factors beyond just initial cost. Here are a few things to weigh when deciding between granite and quartz:
Your Design Aesthetic
- Granite offers unmatched natural beauty and variations
- Quartz provides consistent, style-driven colors
Your Maintenance Preferences
- Granite requires periodic sealing
- Quartz needs only soap and water cleaning
- Granite can handle hot pans better
- Quartz resists scratches and stains
Using Your Home As A Selling Point
- Granite appeals to luxury home buyers
- Quartz pleases buyers looking for low maintenance
- Granite is a natural material
- Quartz contains high levels of recycled content
Neither material is inherently better — it comes down to aligning features to your priorities. With cost being comparable, focus instead on which material best suits your lifestyle, design tastes and maintenance preferences.
The Bottom Line: Price Is Not the Only Deciding Factor
When comparing granite vs quartz countertops on price alone, the costs are remarkably similar in many cases. While exotic granites can run higher, for standard stone varieties, your total installed price per square foot will be in the same ballpark.
The biggest differences between these two top contenders for countertops lie in factors beyond just initial price. Key considerations like appearance, maintenance, durability and resale value may matter more than cost for homeowners.
With their distinct but equally desirable characteristics, granite and quartz continue to be the most popular choices in kitchen and bath remodels year over year. After reviewing the cost breakdown, evaluate which material aligns best with your own priorities and you cannot go wrong investing in either of these high-end countertop materials.
Frequently Asked Questions
### Does quartz cost more than granite? The costs of quartz and granite are very similar. While exotic granites can be higher, for most standard stone varieties, expect total installed costs between $80-$175 per square foot for both materials. Quartz does not generally cost more than granite across the board. ### Is quartz cheaper than granite? Quartz is not necessarily cheaper than granite. While it may seem less expensive due to man-made nature, overall installed costs are comparable to mid-range granites. Only lesser quality, low-end granites would be considered less expensive than most quartz varieties. ### Is granite cheaper than quartz? Granite is not universally cheaper than quartz. Low-cost granites can start at a lower price point than quartz, but mid to high-end granite costs overlap with quartz pricing per square foot installed. More exotic granites do often cost more than quartz. ### Does thickness increase the cost of granite and quartz? Yes, thickness impacts the price for both granite and quartz countertops. A standard thickness is 2cm for either material. Moving to 3cm thick pieces adds an upcharge of approximately 15-20% more to the overall project costs. ### Are granite and quartz prices consistent nationally? Granite and quartz pricing is remarkably consistent across the United States. Being factory made or fabricated finishes, you can expect to pay similar costs per square foot for either material regardless of location. Installation labor rates do not cause regional pricing differences. ### Is quartz or granite more cost effective? It depends on your perspective. Granite can be cost effective if you want a low-budget natural stone look. Quartz is cost effective for those desiring minimal maintenance without sealing. Overall lifetime costs for both materials are comparable. It depends on your priorities. ### Should I expect granite and quartz costs to be negotiable? Pricing for installed countertops is typically fixed. Retail costs per square foot do not vary at major home improvement chains. For granite, you may negotiate better on slabs purchased directly from importers or warehouses. But expect set costs for finished projects from fabricators.
Whether you are leaning toward the unmatched beauty of granite or the easy care of quartz, keep in mind that cost does not have to be the deciding factor. Go beyond the price per square foot to consider your lifestyle needs, design tastes, and priorities for a low or high maintenance finish. With their comparable costs combined with distinct advantages, granite and quartz offer two outstanding options for your investment in new countertops.
So focus on discovering which material aligns with your goals for functionality, aesthetics and enjoyment of your kitchen or bath space. By evaluating the pros and cons beyond simply product cost, you can feel confident that either granite or quartz will provide lasting value and satisfaction when making your dream remodel a reality.